Open access publishing offers texts to readers free of charge.
The main motives for open access seem to me entirely understandable: authors want to be read; people (authors and their sponsors) want content to be accessible to all.
It’s a good thing that some providers want to make their content available in this way and it’s also good that some publishers provide them with the appropriate media – principally peer-reviewed journals.
That ‘peer-reviewed’ is important – arguably more important than in traditional publishing – since any open access publication has to knock any suspicion of vanity publishing out of court before it even arises.
In the workflow system we’ve established for our traditionally published book programme, we have built in peer reviewing at three stages, i.e. (i) book proposal, (ii) sample chapter, and (iii) completed typescript.
The benefits of open access publishing suggest to me that we should develop an open access programme, particularly for grey publishing and for e-books. (Though open access publishing is most often associated with journals, the principle can be extended.) And if we do go down this route, I am certain we’d retain those three peer review stages, at least.
Where I find myself disagreeing with supporters of open access publishing is when it comes to assessing the system as a whole. To me it seems obvious that the ideal for the industry is a hybrid model, in which traditional and open access models co-exist (sometimes even within the same journal). That seems to me to maximise choice.
But I doubt that is the majority view. To some, open access is a superior model; traditional publishing is suspect. I’d like to set out why I disagree with that view. But perhaps this is enough for one post. My intention for this blog is to keep things brief, even at the expense of being sketchy. So: to be continued.